It happens often enough to comment upon. Some unsuspecting newcomer attends a Becoming event or stops by our booth at Pagan Pride Day and is asked if they want their aura fluffed. You can imagine their surprise, and sometimes horror. They may have heard that Becoming is a “well respected” group in the DC Pagan community, and now a bunch of dewy-eyed folks brandishing fluffy sticks surrounds them and asks if they want their aura fluffed.
Aura fluffing? What the heck is that? Even my Pagan fiancé once incredulously asked me, “So, your group’s main magical tool is a lamb wool duster?!”
Well, yes and no.
At its simplest, aura fluffing is a fun way to give and receive support and encourage from those close to you. As babies, many of us are touched, caressed, and cuddled. This physical closeness is developmentally important. Babies who don’t get it don’t get it. Get it? But as we grow older, the sphere of who is allowed to touch us in such loving, intimate ways grows smaller. Caressing and cuddling becomes sexualized, and many of us are uncomfortable with loving touch outside of a romantic or intimate context. The playfulness and silliness of aura fluffing allows both the “fluffer” and “fluffee” to return to a more child-like where spontaneous and exuberant affection can be expressed, while at the same maintaining a psychically comfortable physical distance. I am not touching you with my taboo hands but with a tickly wooly duster.
I could talk about auras as magnetic life-force fields generated by the human body, the need to invigorate that life force, and how stagnant energy, like stagnant water, turns rank, smells bad, and breeds disease. I could talk about how humans are a social species who need contact with others, and that alienated individuals tend toward depression and other mental and physical health concerns, whereas community encouragement and positive attention increase a person’s overall happiness and chances of reaching their goals.
But that would be too serious, and hence, a bit silly. Aura fluffing is silly! But that does not mean it is frivolous or unimportant. The silliness facilitates the critical work that aura fluffing does. As a good friend told me, “Laughter is known to release stress, lower blood pressure and all sorts of good things. Being touched by a feather duster immediately brings out the giggles and smiles. The laughter soon follows.”
I recently asked a bunch of folks what they thought was happening (spiritually, energetically, emotionally, physically) during a fluffing. One response—“I never thought it was more than a silly, fun thing to do. I did feel more grounded yet light hearted afterwards”—got me thinking. Aura fluffing is easy to dismiss as “fluffy bunny.” In fact, I would bet that some of the Becoming folks inwardly groan when we do public fluffings or just don’t consider it “serious magic.” But what is magic? Many pagans use Dion Fortune’s classic definition that magic is “the art of changing consciousness at will.” As a Becoming member once expressed, “either the energy-draining forces get swept aside, or the positive energy pops up and forces itself to appear. Either way, you get a break in the stagnation and you end up feeling lighter. If you are happy- the world looks better, if you are unhappy- the world looks scary, daunting, and pessimism is rampant.”
Sure, we could, and sometimes do, surround the act of aura fluffing within a sacred circle, ritually set built and set aside for magic. However, if we prescribed an intricate, scientific, clinical, or esoteric ritual around it, the very thing that makes aura fluffing work would vanish. There would be no heart-felt connection or return to childish fun.
And at its core that is what aura fluffing is all about – connecting from the heart to the heart. The silliness of aura fluffing breaks down our everyday barriers in a safe way and allows our Younger Self, or child soul, to play and shine, even if only for a little while.
Yeah, but does it work? If you have cancer or a cold, getting your aura fluffed isn’t going to send the disease into immediate remission or bestow miraculous cures, but it does lift the spirit and make the day seem a bit brighter, which can make all the difference to the person going through trying times. From this perspective, how can aura fluffing, as silly as it is, not be magic? Magic with results, even.